Olympic gymnast signs with Utes

Olympic gymnast signs with Utes

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SALT LAKE CITY—Gael Mackie, a 2004 Canadian Olympian, has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Utah gymnastics team. She plans to defer enrolling at the U. until the fall of 2008 in order to train for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Mackie is the third gymnastics recruit to sign with the Utes this year. United States National Team member Jacq Johnson and Junior Olympian Kyndal Robarts committed to the Utes in the early signing period back in November and will join the team next fall.

As a 16-year-old, Mackie competed for Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Her most recent international competition was at the Friendship Classic on April 8, 2007, where she won the all-around, vault, bars and beam. Mackie's international portfolio also includes a fourth-place all-around showing and a bronze medal on the beam at the 2002 WOGA Classic, and a seventh-place all-around mark (the best by a Canadian) and a silver medal on the beam at the 2002 Pacific Alliance meet.

In 2003, Mackie won the Canadian Senior National all-around championship. She captured the junior national title the previous year. She also won junior national titles on vault and floor in 2002 and on vault in 2001, while placing second on bars in 2002. Mackie won Elite Canada championships on the uneven bars in 2002 and the balance beam in 2003.

"Gael will be a great addition to our program. She has all of the attributes we look for in a recruit," says Utah head coach Greg Marsden. "She is talented, hardworking and has an infectious personality. She has the skills on every event to compete with anyone and has a performance quality that makes her a joy to watch."

Mackie will join a Utah program that has won a record 10 national championships and placed second at the 2006 NCAA Championships. The nation's gymnastics attendance leader for 23 or the last 26 years, Utah averaged 11,297 fans to its home meets this season. The Utes have averaged crowds in excess of 10,700 for the last 15 years.

Mackie, a resident of Coquitlam, British Columbia, attends Burnaby Central Secondary School. She trains at Omega Gymnastics under coaches Vladimir and Svetlana Lashin. Her parents, Bill and Susan Mackie, are also former gymnasts. Bill made the 1968 and 1972 Canadian Olympic teams, although injuries forced him to withdraw from both competitions. Susan was a national team gymnast.

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